In my last post, What Is Your Why?, I reflected on the first of two questions from Seth Godin‘s manifesto (also featured in his TEDtalk, Stop Stealing Dreams). Danny Bauer kicks off his book, The Better Leaders Better Schools Roadmap, by asking and challenging others to answer these questions.
- Why do we do what we do?
- What is school for?
Is this is a trick question? We’ve all grown up in school, after all, and thinking about the purpose of school can, on the surface, seem obvious. It is something we take for granted too easily with loosely held thoughts and assumptions. Our work is too important for this and our answer to the question, What is school for?, deserves a deeper look.
What IS school for? The more I reflect on this question, the more I seem to uncover within my own beliefs. So I decided to go out on the proverbial limb, be vulnerable and open this question up to my team.
I posed the question to our staff and here are some of their thoughts…
What about our school community speaks to this question? What our teachers shared with me tie closely into what we call our shared WHY. Our school’s vision statement clarifies our collective belief about why we do what we do and, like the above responses, calls us to be more than traditional deliverers of knowledge. We are there to nurture learners who have the ability to persevere through challenges and to ignite a passion for continuous growth that will extend far beyond our students’ time with us.
We are about creating a community that celebrates diversity and honors that we each have genius. Even our school hashtag, #TMGenius, speaks loudly from a place of belief and creating a culture that seeks out and shines a light on each other’s greatness.
We value commitment and responsibility rather than compliance. School is about helping our students realize, not just all that is possible in the world, but all they can go out and create in the world. We develop this commitment to being positive leaders who live boldly rather than being an obedient consumer. At our core is the purpose of helping each other become the very best versions of ourselves and to achieve more than we ever thought possible.
This tall order requires us to honor and speak to the heart of each individual. Our school needs to be a place where not only are all welcome, but all know they belong. A sense of belonging is crucial to community members feeling connected and supported through the challenges that are necessary for radiating the possibilities of a better future.
Education is the key to unlocking our human potential. To make the world a better place, we must invest in quality education for ALL children, not just those who are privileged enough to be born into families who value and can afford it. If we truly believe that all children have greatness to nurture and share with our world, then we must have the courage to start these conversations and then put into place practices that are daring enough to chase this vision.
What do you think school is for? Tweet and tag me (@me1odystacy) to let me know your thoughts. Or feel free to comment below.
Let’s connect and start this dialogue. After all, we are on this journey together.